The Ministry of Health held a ceremony in Hanoi on August 25 to present the “For people’s health” insignia to three foreign experts in recognition of their contributions to the Vietnamese health sector and the cause of HIV/AIDS prevention and control in particular.
The honoured experts were Marie-Odile Emond, Country Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Vietnam; John Michael Blandford, Country Director of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) in Vietnam; and Paula Morgan, Deputy Director of the US CDC in Vietnam.
Marie-Odile Emond, who has worked as UNAIDS Country Director in Vietnam since 2017, has helped strengthen national coordination in mobilising and optimising the use of resources for the country’s HIV/AIDS, drug and prostitution prevention and control.
She also called for assistance to Vietnam in building legal documents and policies in the field.
Meanwhile, John Michael Blandford initiated and led the U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) campaign, or K=K in Vietnamese, making the US CDC in Vietnam the pioneer in implementing the US President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in the globe.
Together with the US CDC Country Director, Paula Morgan directed the building of four PEPFAR Vietnam Country Operational Plans (COPs) in the 2016-2020 period to ensure sponsorship for the country’s HIV programmes through the setting up of priorities in science and technology as well as the review and re-forming of annual goals for the seeking and treatment of people living with HIV.
Addressing the ceremony, Acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long highly valued the contributions and support of the foreign experts, especially in the coordination of resources, policy support and consultations to Government agencies to draw out HIV’AIDS strategies.
He underlined that the Vietnamese health sector hopes for stronger international cooperation and more assistance from the international community and organisations in the field of HIV/AIDS control.
He noted that the Prime Minister has approved a National Strategy on ending AIDS in 2030. So far, Vietnam is a bright spot in the world in the HIV/AIDS fight, with the number of infections and deaths falling consecutively since 2008. Vietnam is also one of the four countries in the world with highest ratio of treatment compliance./.
This article was originally published in VNA